by CIO Staff

Employers Increasingly Firing Staffers for E-mail Violations

Jul 17, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

A large chunk of employers are letting staffers go for violations of computer and Web communications policies, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The news comes from the 2006 Workplace E-Mail, Instant Messaging and Blog survey from the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, according to the Journal.

The survey found that more than a quarter of the employers queried had fired an employee for violating company e-mail policy, up 9 percent from the 17 percent of employers who let employees go for similar violations in 2001, the Journal reports. On top of this finding, the survey also said that 2 percent of respondents had fired workers for instant-message correspondences that weren’t appropriate, and another 2 percent of employers said they’d fired a staffer for posting distasteful content on a Web log—or blog—be it their professional or personal page, according to the Journal.

The survey results were released as more and more firms are taking legal action against employees for various computer-related activities, including questionable blog postings. Just last week, Apple Computer threw in the towel in its legal effort to obtain the names of journalists it says were Apple employees who leaked information on an upcoming product.

Roughly 24 percent of firms have been subpoenaed by a court or regulatory body for electronic employee communications, up 4 percent from two years ago, and 15 percent of respondents have attended a court hearing regarding employee e-mails, up 2 percent from two years ago, the Journal reports.

Nancy Flynn, an ePolicy Institute representative, told the Journal that as more and more employers are dragged into courtrooms due to their staffers’ electronic communications, an increasing number are “putting some teeth into their policies.”

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